When I was still in the magazine business, I commissioned a study with an organization of human resource managers about the potential pitfalls during a job interview. It revealed that the decision not to hire is often made within the first five to fifteen minutes of an interview. You need to instantly impress with your promptness, clothes, hair, handshake, body language and manner.
But you’re still not over the hump, of course. Next, you must prove you’re the one. Unfortunately, even a strong candidate can blow it with one bad comment. Here are some of the doozies I have heard over the years.
1) “My favorite magazine? Glamour, I guess.”
There’s nothing wrong on the surface with that answer, but the person who said it was applying to be my assistant when I was running, duh, Cosmopolitan. You might assume she was guileless and just couldn’t utter a lie, but I think she was actually incredibly nervous and blurted out an answer that, though true, she instantly regretted.
My recommendation for every job interview, no matter how senior you are, is to rehearse. Jot down possible questions — standard stuff as well as far-out ones (use your imagination) — and role play with a good friend. But change your answers up a little each time so they won’t sound canned during the interview. Even if you get thrown a few curveballs, rehearsing will up your comfort level so you’ll be better able to deal with those.
2) “I’d like to be involved in some aspect of magazines — editorial, or maybe marketing.”
I heard many variations on this over the years (“articles or fashion,” “fashion or photo,” etc.) and that kind of response guaranteed I’d cut the session real short. It’s not the interviewer’s job to help you sort out how the company and/or field works. Nor is she there to help you decide on a career path. Never seem ambivalent or unfocused. Avoid the word “or.”
3) “Does the company offer childcare?”
That may be something you definitely have to find out, just as you need to know about the 401K plan and vacation time. But don’t solicit that information from a prospective boss during the initial interview. You need to be zero in on the job and what it entails, not the benefits and perks. You can get to those details when… Continue reading at HuffPo’s The Blog.
For 14 years I was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and along with the responsibility came some pretty sweet perks, compliments of my company. Two of my favorites? A private chef, who cooked for my family and me five nights a week, and a weekly session with a masseuse, whose hands were so masterful they should have been insured. Just kidding! Those are the kind of perks film stars get, not editors-in-chief. Still, there are tasty perks available out there for all kinds of positions, and they can make a great job even better. To score them, you first have to know what they are (a prospective employer probably won’t volunteer them all unless they’re trying extra hard to woo you). Then you have to come right out and ask for them during salary negotiation — not after they’ve hired you!
Here’s a sampling of work perks based on level of employment. Availability will also depend on your field. (Hint: don’t be afraid to ask for stuff in the tier above yours — you never know.)
When You’re Just Starting Out (at a decent job/company)
1. Continuing education benefits/tuition reimbursement
2. The chance to telecommute sometimes
3. Access to a mentoring program
4. Access to training seminars
5. A health/wellness stipend (i.e. gym, yoga classes)
6. Marketplace discounts (this one is often automatic)
When You’ve Scored a Job on the Fast Track
Everything listed above, plus… Continue reading at HuffPo’s The Blog.
More from The Huffington Post:
· Notes From a Scandal: The Petraus Affair
· How to Get Out of the Binder and Into the Room
· Kate White, Former ‘Cosmopolitan’ Magazine Editor, Prepares For Her Next Chapter
Like many women, I’ve been riveted by the scandal involving General Petraeus. And like many women, I’m sure, I’ve catalogued and dissected the mistakes made by Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley, the two females at the center of the brouhaha. Juicy scandals can provide plenty of titillation, but it’s nice when they also offer some takeaway. Petraeus’s misbehavior serves as a great cautionary tale, but since I just wrote a book on career strategies for women, I’m most interested in what I can learn from Paula and Jill.
The “don’ts” leap right off the page/screen. DON’T have an affair with a married man you work with; DON’T arrogantly flaunt a silly honorary title; DON’T send emails without imagining other people reading them; DON’T send threatening emails; and DON’T go into massive debt throwing networking parties.
But something else occurred to me while devouring the daily updates. Though Paula and Jill made a mess of things in the long run, they used a couple of smart, steal-worthy strategies at the front end. They just should have quit while they were ahead.
Let me start with Paula. It was gutsy and shrewd of her to contact Petraeus and ask if she could interview him for her Harvard dissertation. It would have been easy to think, “Oh, I’ll never get a yes from a guy like that” and settle for someone less noteworthy. Granted, Broadwell had an impressive CV that helped her cause, but she also clearly recognized the sheer power of “the ask”. She obviously also recognized that people, no matter how important they are, love to talk about themselves.
So keep that in mind. Ask. For introductions, for opportunities, for perks, for raises and great starting salaries. And when you meet key people at networking events, ask them lots of questions about themselves and their work.
Now Jill. She’s been described as a bored socialite looking for attention, but since she supposedly worked for a couple of charities and had that amazing license-plated title of honorary counsel for South Korea, let’s call her a career girl.
Here’s what she did that’s so worth imitating. She placed herself at the powerful nexus of Tampa’s military-civilian circles by filling a void. As one insider told People magazine, army commanders get isolated and it’s nice for them to have civilian friends who support them. The glitz Jill offered apparently proved enchanting. It turned out to be a great way for Jill to gain prestige and clout. Until she worked it too hard and it blew up in her face.
The lesson? No, you don’t have to go broke giving parties. But consider what nexus you’d like to occupy and determine if there’s a void you can fill to help you land there.